Rise and shine – because there are some brilliant brunches out there.
Here Richard Mellor – author of Foodie Breaks: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – reveals his pick of Britain’s brunch spots, from gourmet fried potatoes in Brighton to Bombay-style bacon butties in London, and from loaded breakfast burritos in Wales to fabulously fluffy pancakes in Aberdeen.
Brunch in Brighton’s Lanes, pictured, is a lovely experience, especially if you can snaffle a window seat and watch the world troop by, says Richard Mellor
Nelson Coffee in Eastbourne serves seasonal brunch options including veggie fritter stacks, three-cheese toasties or buckwheat banoffee pancakes
Brunch in Brighton’s Lanes is a lovely experience, especially if you can snaffle a window seat and watch the world troop by.
So step forward Lost In The Lanes, where an all-day breakfast menu, ranging from gourmet fried potatoes with mozzarella and cashew pesto to French toast with lemon curd, is served alongside smoothies and cappuccinos. Go early to beat the inevitable queue (lostinthelanes.com).
Opposite the station in Eastbourne, Nelson Coffee sources artisan-everything: java coffee, loose-leaf tea, Toulouse sausages, halloumi and so on. Its seasonal brunch options include veggie fritter stacks, three-cheese toasties or buckwheat banoffee pancakes (nelsoncoffee.co.uk).
Bombay-style cafe chain Dishoom uses a typically big, typically beautiful space for its sausage naans and spicy, fragrant sweet chais
Reasons to ride the Victoria Line to Walthamstow, its most north-eastern stop, include a museum devoted to the 19th Century all-round creative William Morris, Europe’s longest street market and Buhler & Co, which proves that Antipodeans really do brunch best. Its all-vegetarian options mean everything is healthy, it’s just that some things, such as quinoa cakes, smoked aubergine houmous or sweet potato and smoked tofu hash, are healthier than others, such as brioche French toast, maple and thyme-poached peach and elderflower cream (buhlerandco.com).
In King’s Cross’s rebooted Granary Square area, Bombay-style cafe chain Dishoom uses a typically big, typically beautiful space for its sausage naans and spicy, fragrant sweet chais (dishoom.com).
Clapham, replete with affluent young families and its strollable common, makes an obvious brunch hotspot. Always busy is Brew – you can’t reserve a table, so get there early – thanks to its diverse all-day menu. Sweetcorn fritters and pan-fried halloumi pide (a Turkish flat bread) represent the savoury end, with toasted banana bread rather naughtier, and treacle-cured bacon sandwiches somewhere in between.
More standard granolas, pancakes and egg dishes are also present and correct, while breakfast martinis and Maltesers milkshakes make for decadent beverages. Brew also has a branch in the tennis mecca of Wimbledon (brew-cafe.com).
Deal Pier Kitchen uses local, organic food for an all-day brunch menu that is scoffed amid slatted wooden ceilings and turquoise tiles
Pleasure piers and good eats rarely go hand in hand, but Deal’s award-winning tentacle breaks the mould.
Newly installed is Deal Pier Kitchen, using local, organic food for an all-day brunch menu that is scoffed amid slatted wooden ceilings and turquoise tiles.
The classics – sweetcorn fritters, shakshuka, smashed avocado – are accompanied by vegan options and unusual contenders such as ham hock mac-and-cheese or fish-finger brioche sandwiches (facebook.com/dealpierkitchen).
And raise a mug of coffee to Samphire in Whitstable, particularly for its bubble-and-squeak, black pudding and fried egg combos (samphirewhitstable.co.uk).
Smoothies, scrambled egg and smoked salmon-stuffed croissants, kippers, kedgeree, smashed avocado on muffins and cinnamon rolls are on the menu at Byfords in Holt, Norfolk
Holt is an effortlessly pretty Georgian town in north Norfolk replete with rummageable boutiques and well- trimmed hedges.
It’s a lovely place to linger, and nowhere suits mid-morning lingering better than Byfords, a guesthouse, store and farmhouse-style cafe in one.
The cafe’s breakfast menu, offered until 11.30am from Monday to Saturday and until 3pm on Sundays, spans smoothies, scrambled egg and smoked salmon-stuffed croissants, kippers, kedgeree, smashed avocado on muffins and cinnamon rolls.
And there’s even a ‘breakfast pizza’ topped with sausage, bacon, black pudding, egg, mushrooms, beans and, this being a pizza, mozzarella. Phew! (byfords.org.uk).
Good Day Cafe is located near to Bath Abbey (above) and serves an all-day brunch menu that spans bacon bagels and toasted banana bread
On the elegant Upper Borough Walls, just a minute or two from Bath Abbey and Pulteney Bridge in the city’s brown-stone heart, Good Day Cafe puts the emphasis on local suppliers.
Alongside wicked pastries, its all-day brunch menu spans bacon bagels and toasted banana bread under blueberry compote. Service is warm and the upstairs room is a visual dream – pale pink walls, neon signs and succulents.
If you’re feeling bold or need a pick- me-up, order a charcoal or beetroot latte with your meal. Dogs are welcome (gooddaycoffee.co.uk).
Laura, Ben, Tom and Sam are the friendly founders of Frampton’s, an all-day bar- restaurant in Ringwood which excels at brunch. Signature dishes include slow-braised beef short rib, poached eggs and hollandaise atop a crumpet, and toasted brioche below banana cream.
The coffee is good, too – strong, bitter and best enjoyed in the outside seating.
Prices reflect the quality ingredients (framptonsbar.co.uk).
Head to Liverpool’s famous Penny Lane where you’ll find the The Tavern Co, which has twice won national Best Breakfast Awards
In Penny Lane, where the Beatles song described barbers and bankers, stands The Tavern Co, an instrument-crammed den whose full English has twice won national Best Breakfast Awards. Available until 3pm are also omelettes, sausage patties and Nutella pancakes plus, brilliantly, free tea and coffee refills (tavernco.co.uk).
Moose also aces brunch. Its American-style menu, longer than some bibles, encompasses poached eggs on toasted bagels and apple-and-salted-caramel pancake stacks. As the original Commercial District outpost of Moose is currently closed, aim for its Georgian Quarter sibling on Hope Street (moosecoffee.co.uk).
What with Yorks closing branches and Peel & Stone now a wholesale supplier, Gas Street Social has assumed the mantle of Brum’s brunch king, despite serving the meal between Thursday and Sunday only.
Its position in the Mailbox shopping and office development has its patio facing the canal, which is splendid on sunny days.
Better still are the American-style pancakes with streaky bacon, the avocado and eggs on toast, and the oh-so-cheesy toasties with bechamel. Bottomless boozy brunches are anchored on bellinis or mimosas, and there’s good coffee, too. With New Street station inside a ten-minute trot, it works well for a first or last stop during a weekend break (gasstreetsocial.co.uk).
Stand-out dishes at Federal Cafe Bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter include French toast under a berry compote and treacly banana bread spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg
Treacly banana bread spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, then topped with vanilla mascarpone; cheddar corn fritters and a pile of bacon; French toast under a berry compote, plus some white chocolate and almond crumble or chorizo ciabatta injected with manchego cheese. All reasons to skip breakfast and make a mid-morning visit to the Northern Quarter and its Antipodean-run Federal Cafe Bar.
Ozone coffee and a comfy room of pot plants and mustard-coloured comfy banquettes help with the motivation, too (federalcafe.co.uk).
Inspired by the trendy East London area of the same name, and founded by relocated Londoners, Hoxton North is a buzzy place for Harrogate’s hip young families and creative crowd. And anyone else, really, thanks to a very welcoming vibe. The only challenge is getting a table.
Available until 3pm, its brunch menus span classic egg dishes and avocado options, chocolatey French toast, croque monsieurs, cinnamon buns and pastrami sandwiches.
Specialty coffee and Origin hot chocolates headline the drinks card, with cocktails dispensed from midday onwards (hoxtonnorth.com).
The Old Sawmill Tearoom, located between Bassenthwaite and Keswick, serves pork, bacon and maple sausage rolls with apple chutney
There’s an irresistibly jolly quality to The Old Sawmill Tearoom, found between Bassenthwaite and Keswick.
Cheeriness comes both from its decor of polka-dot tablecloths and bunting, and the fun nosh on offer: pork, bacon and maple sausage rolls with apple chutney; toasted Welsh rarebit muffins with green-bean pickle and so on, all available from 10am.
Opt for a shortbread squirrel, meanwhile, and you’ll be helping local wildlife. Money for these treats goes towards the conservation of red squirrels in adjacent Dodd Wood (theoldsawmill.co.uk).
Oil workers, students and seemingly everyone in between gathers for brunch at The Craftsman Company, just steps from the station and Union Square shopping centre.
In a cosy room blending scrubbed floorboards, husks of original stonework, industrial piping and chunky timber joins, an all-day menu features superlative Turkish eggs – essentially poached eggs with Greek-style yogurt, chorizo oil and sourdough toast – plus fluffy pancakes, bacon rolls and sharing boards. And the coffee is excellent (thecraftsmancompany.com).
Ormeau Road is a gentrifying area of South Belfast where shabby River Lagan-side warehouses are becoming smart flats, and ramen bars neighbour pawn shops.
An early adopter was General Merchants, whose brunch menu delivers acai and banana granola, huevos rotos and triple-cooked potatoes with labneh, as well as toasted Belgian waffles with cherry gel and caramel, all amid varnished wood fittings and crisp white walls (generalmerchants.co.uk).
If that sounds far too millennial, head east instead and hole up at The Lamppost Cafe, where frescoes herald local legend C. S. Lewis and his Chronicles Of Narnia. A Sunday brunch menu stars sriracha beans and truffle mushrooms (thelamppostcafe.com).
Make a beeline for Idris Stores in the old slate-mining village of Corris, Wales, where on Saturdays it offers an inventive burrito of the week
Idris Stores, which is a shop and gallery space as well as a cafe, is firmly in the ‘hidden gem’ category. Found in Corris, a pine-swathed old slate-mining village on Snowdonia National Park’s southern tip, it usually offers a superb sit-in brunch. At present, alas, its savoury and sweet treats – such as sesame-bagel sandwiches, scones and peanut-butter energy balls – are available only for takeaway from 10am to 1pm. On Saturdays it offers an inventive burrito of the week. One recent example contained sausage, cumin, potatoes and black beans (facebook.com/idrisstores).
Scoff it all on nearby narrow-gauge railways or before tackling family-friendly maze Lost Legends Of The Stone Circle.
Cwtch (pronounced ‘cutch’ as in ‘much’) means two things in Welsh: a cuddle and a cosy place. The latter perfectly describes the Cwtch Cafe in Abergavenny, whose charming service and food have earned nationwide repute. There’s no shortage of all-day options for brunchers, from toasties to American-style pancakes to salads to sausage rolls.
Yet, ultimately, there’s really only one option – a superlative Welsh rarebit, done here with a mustard kick (although you can request otherwise). Coffees and cakes stand by if needed, and prices are preposterously good.
- Extracted from Foodie Breaks: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, by Richard Mellor, available from Tuesday in Kindle and paperback editions via Amazon from £7.99